Although Abraham Lincoln did not leave Springfield, Illinois to campaign for the presidency, Republican Party supporters across the North campaigned for him. Among the most fervent were young men who organized in Wide-Awake Clubs.
Legend has it that Lincoln came up with the distinctive name. According to a New York Times story published in 1895, Lincoln had greeted members of the local Republican Party in Connecticut during a visit in early 1860 which followed his speech at Cooper Union in New York City. Impressed by their enthusiasm, Lincoln remarked, "The boys are wide awake. Suppose we call them the Wide Awakes?"
After Lincoln became the Republican nominee, Wide-Awake Clubs carried his campaign message. In exuberant torchlight parades, the Wide-Awakes sometimes marched in a zig-zag pattern to invoke the image of the split-rail fences Lincoln had built in his youth.
In New York City the Wide-Awakes held a massive march in rally in lower Manhattan. In this print they are shown marching through Park Row, where the city's newspapers were headquartered.
In the background are the buildings of the New York Tribune of Horace Greeley and the New York Times.